Welcome to the MUD Club Page

Interested in  Scuba Diving? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Come join us every 3rd Tuesday (except December) for our Monthly MUD meeting.
Looking for a dive? Check out our Calendar to see what’s on the schedule.

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2021 – Feb: Cold Water Gear Check

Today at Paw Paw Lake (Forest Beach) doing a cold water gear check out dive in prep for the New Years Eve dive. Warm surface temperature (above freezing :), chilly water (no ice yet), light wind and no boaters to contend with. Five foot vis looking down from the pier but U/W it was a bit cloudy. Just had to beat tomorrows lake effect snow.


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2018 – September – Ecology Dive – Niles, Michigan

Ecology Dive – Riverview Park, Niles, Michigan

On Saturday, September 22, 2018, the “2018 Ecology Dive” was held in Niles , Michigan at Riverview Park.

This was the 3rd year in a row that the Michigan U/W Divers (MUD) club and Wolfs Marine with support from the local community held the event in Niles.

Two divers came from Detroit and one from Grand Rapids to join our Muddies in the event. There were 24 divers and shore support and a bunch of spectators. The weather was beautiful but a little chilly in the morning until the sun warmed things up in the afternoon.
In fact, with the support and donations the club had this year “every participant” and all shore support individuals were awarded a prize.

Jim Scholz, from Dowagiac, was the grand prize winner for having found the “Most Trash” with 73 countable items, Mary Beth Thar (from Nile’s Mi & MUD Club President) won the “Largest/ Biggest” by hauling in a large rusted sign AND a big tractor trailer tire rim, Skyler Daisy from Hartford, won “Heaviest” by lugging in a very heavy and rusted grate, and last but not least was Darrin Jillison (Buchanan) won the “Most Unusual” with a small cross pendant surrounded by about a hundred or so diamond chips.

Here are a couple of pictures of trash removed by the divers.

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2019 – Aug 17 – Mud Club Annual Picnic

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2021 – Cold Water Gear Checkout

Today at Paw Paw Lake (Forest Beach), Watervliet, MI, Sir Larry & I were getting in a cold water gear check out dive. Warm outside temperature (+35F), chilly water (no ice yet), light wind and no boaters to contend with. We had five feet vis looking down from the pier but U/W it was more than a bit cloudy. At least we beat tomorrows lake effect snow.

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2022 – July 19 – Michigan U/W Diver Club Meeting Notes

The meeting was called to order by the club president Amy Ailes at 7:35 PM.

Roll call identified 10 Muddies were in attendance of 32 paid up members which included the Club President, Treasurer, and MUD Club Site Editor.

Financial report presented by Treasurer indicates we are solvent and have $2,200 in the bank.

The president read the minutes from the June meeting and discussed open items.

It was asked that all paid member emails addresses be verified correct and to insure that paid up members are receiving the monthly club newsletter. 

Purchase of a new AED battery was again mentioned.  Jim S and Kevin A will work to purchase a new or backup battery.  

A review of Club Swag includes 3 Hoodies (Blue/ Purple – 2 XL & 1 Medium) and 9 T-shirts (Medium) remaining. 

Discussion of diving related events or happenings identified during the last month 9 beaches had been temporarily closed due to unsafe water quality and high bacteria levels from unknown sources.  

Comments were made my several members about water pollution issues to include micro plastics being found in people’s lungs and in their blood serum. In a recent study in the Netherlands 17 of 22 adults tested had plastic particles in their blood. It was mentioned that the Whitehouse Nature Center, located near the Albion college’s campus in Albion, was closed all day Sunday due two independent sightings of a possible alligator in the Kalamazoo River. A google search also identified that last June an alligator was found basking in the sun on a fallen tree along the St. Joseph River in South Bend. Additional research noted that a fisherman fishing for salmon in the waters near Waukegan, Illinois spotted a 4-ft. American Alligator. Bottom Line- watch were your diving and have your GoPro ready.

Several members discussed their dives and several items from the MUD Club Facebook postings were mentioned or discussed:

Sir Larry made a few comments about a recent dive he made diving in the St. Joseph River in Niles.

It was noted that the next “Tankful Tuesday” dive for July 26th will be in Niles and that Jake T would give them a river check.

Jim Scholz identified he was heading up to the Straits of Mackinac for shipwreck diving for a week or two. Karen Mann mentioned that if she got her boat repaired, she too would be up their wreck diving as well.

Several members mentioned the issues with Karen’s boat and hoped a quick solution would be found.

Jim asked who would be interested in attending a Rescue Divers class and asked that he be contacted. It’s possible that CPR/First Aid/ and O2 Provider could possibly be included. Needs a positive head count before details could be worked out.

As far as diving and shipwrecks, Kevin has buoyed the Havana with assistance from Amy and Eric Rohloff. 

 It was also noted that Kevin Ailes, with the help of Amy and Jack Greve  presented a Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) presentation in July and did a great job.

Kevin & Amy Have been in the news for their recent wreck discoveries and investigations which have included the shipwreck the MUSIC (Portage Lake) and the Shipwreck of 1842 (the Milwaukee).

Reminder that the Mud Club Picnic will be on September 10 at Riverview Park in Niles beginning at high noon. As usual the club supplies the meat (chicken or steak as decided before the event) and it’s bring a plate to pass. Participants can come early or stay late to either kayak or dive the river.  

It was noted that participation at Tankful Tuesday (TT) dives have not been as well attended as expected or hoped for.

There was no Show & Tell this evening but the meeting concluded with Kirk Wutzke “Challenging” Diver’s Quiz.

Example questions: 

Q. What difference does your depth gauge read if in salt water vs fresh water at 30’?

Q. What are the advantages of a Black vs Clear Divers Mask?

Q. 200 BAR = ? PSIA (2,900 PSI)

Q. An 80 cu ft Al tank actually contains? cu ft. (True capacity 80.1 ÷1.0320 ≈ 77.6 ft3) 

I.E. = Aluminum “S80” (Luxfer DOT) US Specifications

  1. Water Volume = 678 in3  (1728 in3 = 1 ft3)
  2. Service Pressure @ 70°F = 3000 psi
  3. Ideal capacity (678÷1728) ×3000 ÷14.696= 80.1 ft3
  4. Z Factor = 1.0320
  5. True capacity 80.1 ÷1.0320 ≈ 77.6 ft3

PM Meeting ended at 7:45 PM

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2022 – How Current ARE YOU?

Currency Dive—It’s Not Just Another Dive  

No, your scuba certification does not expire. However, this does vary largely according to the certifying agency for your course and that it’s always a good idea to refresh your skills when it comes to keeping yourself and your dive partners safe in the water.

Maintain evidence of recent diving activities. Important when traveling and going to new places to dive and performing different dive activities (i.e.: boat dive, warm vs cold water diving, freshwater vs salt water, lake vs pond) before taking visiting divers on an open water dive. Your scuba logbook helps others verify your experience level and currency. Refresher courses or sometimes just attending guided fun dives and trips with knowledgeable dive instructors and Dive masters (as well as other divers) that are current and informative. Your certifications and/or logged dives to confirm this.

The expectation of staying current and active is placed upon the diver. One could borrow, rent, or purchase gear with little interference regardless of whether one was certified 20 years ago or 2 months ago. With that said dive travel is less forgiving, but inconsistent. Generally, a certification is not enough if it is more than a couple of years old; evidence of recent dives will usually be required and either a Refresher course of some kind or an informal check-out dive will be recommended or required of those without recent experience.

Whether it is PADI, NAUI, or another certifying agency they all adhere to standards on scuba training, experience, and competence. 

If you are a thrill seeker, scuba diving may not be for you. It requires focus, organization, and clear thinking. It also is not competitive. Cooperation is key. Your dive buddy is the person you will rely on if there is trouble.

 Look for a diving mentor / instructor who is experienced and professional, but not egotistical. The scuba learning experience should be properly organized, careful, safe, and fun as well.  it is important for divers to maintain a dive logbook of their dive experiences

Yes, I know, there is NO mandated requirement to have recurrency training after a long diving layoff. The simple fact is most of us have done a lot less diving the last couple of COVID years and face it we are rusty in our skills.

Oftentimes, divers’ breeze through getting in a currency dive – thinking that going back to scuba diving as “just like riding a bike”—and don’t spend much time preparing for the dive.

And every year, divers hurt themselves at the beginning of the season and right after long layoffs from the sport. But even though divers clearly need safety refreshers after taking a break from the sport, there’s a lack of standardization of what currency training should be.

As such, we divers have an opportunity to look at what currency training would detail.

Do most divers believe that after a diving layoff, for whatever reason, one should take it slow and make deliberate choices in getting back into the water? 

Can we change the mind set of all divers, no matter their experience level, to encourage others as well as themselves to create a mindset of safety first and will how divers think of and conduct that first couple of dives after a layoff deliberately choosing to devote the time to retraining themselves?

However, simply attending a few Diver Safety Day seminars is not equivalent to true currency training. Experienced divers should structure their own currency training carefully, using proven techniques and academic strategies to help themselves get back to their level of competency.

Before conducting the dive, the Lead Diver should formulate a dive plan with it planned around the competency of the least experienced diver.

Each diver shall conduct a functional check of his/her diving equipment in the presence of the dive buddy.

It is the diver’s responsibility and duty to refuse to dive if, in their judgment, conditions are unfavorable or if they would be violating the precepts of their training.

Any diver may refuse to dive, without fear of harassment or embarrassment, whenever the diver believes it is unsafe for them to make the dive. The ultimate responsibility for safety rests with the individual diver. It is the diver’s responsibility and duty to refuse to dive if, in their judgment, conditions are unsafe or unfavorable, if they would be violating the precepts of their training, or for any reason whatsoever.

This buddy system is based on mutual assistance, especially in the case of an emergency. Therefore, Buddy divers must maintain close continuous contact during each dive.

Did your dive plan have an emergency plan appropriate to the dive mode, available for immediate reference before and after each dive.

ALL dives shall be terminated while there is still sufficient breathing gas to permit the diver to safely reach the surface, including any required decompression time, or to safely reach an additional air source at the decompression station.

It is essential that emergency procedures be pre-planned, communicated, and understood by all divers and surface support personnel.

Maintain your own dive log. All divers should log every dive and be retained by the diver. It should include the Name of diver and buddy(s), the Date, time, and location. Diving gas used and the general nature of diving activities Approximate surface and underwater conditions Maximum depths, bottom time, and surface interval time. Note if Diving tables or computers were used and detail any near or actual incidents.

How to maintain diver competency

Diving itself may seem effortless, especially when you’re gliding along in a mild current, with a boat waiting to pick you up when you surface but are you able to efficiently kick through a current for a short time to return to the boat ladder and then climb it?

As we get older that gear seems to get a lot heaver and bulky, are you in good enough physical condition to do so?

How about that shore dive? Can you easily handle the entries and exits which are often the most demanding parts of the dive? Do you have the strength to walk your equipment in and out of the water makes the entire dive more efficient and therefore safer?

Are you out of physical condition? If so, before you begin diving again add short walks to your daily routine begin an exercise routine to include muscle toning and strength but remember to build up slowly. 

Remember that you built your diving experience slowly, coming back after a long break will take time. It might be tempting to look at the last dive in your logbook and try to repeat it straight away. However, pushing the boundaries of your existing diving experience, it’s not a great first couple of dives back.

Getting back into diving is not about rushing. Having a couple of pool dive is not exciting dive site, but it’s the best place to check if everything still fits and works as you expect it to.

Always consider your underwater comfort zone and start with a dive that is well within it. Do a few diving days in familiar conditions to allow you to build confidence and regain muscle memory. Take it slowly and enjoy the process.

Note that refreshing your skills doesn’t necessarily mean booking a course as such. A similarly or higher qualified dive buddy may be able to help. Filming yourself practicing skills also goes a long way toward finding weak points and improving them.


Were you doing technical dives? Even more important when you’re building up technical dives after a break to do so slowly. You may be qualified to dive deep but going from a year on land to multiple cylinders at depth is simply a recipe for disaster. After months out of the water, your stamina is likely diminished.

Just as you completed your training in several stages, your return to diving after this year or possibly longer will take some time. The good news is, however, that all this underwater time is enjoyable. Put simply, diving cautiously is part of your return to diving to the top level of your qualification.


For those who may have just completed their qualification before taking this long break and spent several months or longer out of the water, its highly recommended you get a refresher course with a qualified dive mentor, divemaster or instructor. Initial low threat dives are crucial to truly commit diving skills to memory and practice truly leads to mastery.  It makes more sense to practice not only until you can get something right, but rather until you can’t get it wrong anymore.

Whichever way you choose to get back to diving after a long break to take things step by step. Rushing into big dives is never a good idea.

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2022 – Scuba Diver’s Safety Day

Let’s establish a “Scuba Divers Safety Day” but not to think of it as just a single day but as an opportunity to refresh our approach to safety-related topics for the upcoming year.

Have there been any new procedures or updates to emergency processes or training included in any of the multiple SCUBA organization such as PADI, SSI, NAUI, CMAS, RAID or any of the other 45 scuba organizations that you are aware of?

Have you physically handled and checked to see if ANY of your equipment could do with some TLC maintenance before the season ramps up?

Have you tried to look up and review the incident report summaries from last year to learn from the misfortunes of others?

When was the last time you reviewed your emergency procedures and then practiced your responses?

Have you just thought about it? Did some hands-on practice? Did buddy checks before and during the dive? Have you thought about potential situations that COULD lead You to panic especially if not current in practicing your correct responses or having the right operating gear?

YOU need to approach every day as it’s a “Diver Safety Day”.

Because the days we forget that are the days when we’ve provided complacency the opportunity to win the battle for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.

So how do we shift from thinking about safety from time to time to having it become part of everything we do?  How does it become second nature?

Simply put, we divers must embrace a safety culture. Safety culture needs to become an integral part of the Dive Planning makeup and follow thru.

Culture is to a group what personality or character is to an individual. And whether you know it or not, your dive partners and or active club members has one.

Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s great, but I guarantee there is room for it to improve. 

Act! Whether you’re old or young, seasoned, or green, we all play a part. Making that commitment will make the sport safer for you and your friends.  Breaking just one link of an accident chain can stop a fatality from occurring.

That’s guaranteed.

Remember to think safe, plan Your dive, then dive your plan to Stay Safe!

Every single diver, dive club, dive shop, every business providing services to divers should be opened to supporting a diver safety culture by providing information and opportunities to refresh a diver’s approach to safety-related topics all during the year.  

Breaking just one link of an accident chain can stop a fatality from occurring.

Sticking to the basics is a good way to reduce any type of diving risk. It is impossible to predict all the unusual situations that can lead to a diving injury or fatality, but the precautions you can take are almost always the same.

Reduce the chances of experiencing an unusual injury or fatality the same way you do a common one: Carefully plan and execute each dive, rehearse emergency procedures frequently, properly maintain and check your equipment.

It’s the common things that will keep you safe in uncommon circumstances.     

What are the most common reasons leading up to diver fatalities?

Panic Kills. What leads to panic?

Major items are poor air management, poor buoyancy control, entrapment, under skilled for the dive, misuse of diving equipment, not following basic safety rules and human error.

Are you Physically Fit?

Another is our own physical condition.  Our physical strength and stamina decrease as we get older. Just because you did this dive 10 years ago does not mean you can safely do it today. 

Health issues increase as we get older and how our body reacts to physical stress and exertion have changed. Sometimes we think we can do a particular dive but when we really think about it, we know we should not. Its hard to say NO when you’ve done it before.

Have you “really” maintained your gear? 

How often have you dove already knowing about “small” equipment issues and not fixing them before the dive?  You know what I mean, the regulator just bleeds a little, the top BC relief valve bleeds a little or doesn’t work all the time but the bottom one does. I know the Velcro fastener on the weight pouch sometime does not hold but I can manage if I lose it. I still have 500# of gas, so we still have time to look around a little more.

Most fatalities are the result of improper responses to situations which can rapidly become life threating and emergency situations can and do occur during in what should have been a leisurely dive.

You can often avoid a panic situation if you have air, but you must avoid the temptation or mine set that some time occurs that if you have air you have time to fix all the problems without surfacing.

A complacent attitude about this part of dive makes those emergency situations more likely, so be ready for those abnormal occurrences that can lead to injuries and fatalities. We encourage all divers to look ahead, consider potential risks and ask themselves these questions before getting back into the saddle this season.

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2021 – High Noon River Dive – Marmont Launch Point – Niles Michigan

River Grubbing Is Back!

For the first time since the high water and floods of 2019 & early 2020 especially, we are back to diving for bottles in the St. Joseph Rivers as it flows thru Riverfront Park in Niles, MI.  So we need to remind all divers to NOT forget their goody bags, and river sticks. A reminder, since its been awhile for some, that your inner tube float & flag will cause a lot of drag in the current so be prepared.

Most divers came early and ALL practiced social distancing.

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2023 – Event Calendar

May 4 – Thirsty Thursday Dive #1 – 6:30 PM – lake Cora, DNR site (West side), Paw Paw – Kevin A.

May 11 – Thirsty Thursday Dive #2 – 6:30 Dive 2 – Paw Paw Lake, Forest Beach, Watervliet – Jim Scholz.

May 18 – Thirsty Thursday Dive #3 – 6:30 Dive 3 – Singer Lake, Baroda – Mi – John Nedoba.

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2021 – Greeting the New Year Underwater 2021

Yep, it was that time of year again. On December 31st, an hour or so before the stroke of midnight, several members of the Michigan Underwater Divers (MUD) Club and friends (observing social distancing practices) began their pre-dive rituals in preparation for celebrating the changing of the year in their usual way, by entering the dark, ice-cold waters of one of Michigan’s numerous bodies of water.

This year’s dive was again in the Saint Joseph river off Riverview Park in Niles, Michigan. With only a little snow, ice on the walkways and along the shore, no wind and with the air temp of ~19F, it was almost balmy.

Collectively though the divers had a bit of a challenging dive tonight with the river much lower than last year and having to walk out to deeper water w/o fins. Current was slow but again the visibility was like diving in pea soup.

Shore support was provided by Jake Thar (Niles) and Karen Mann (Bangor) who braved the night travels across the snow and Icey roads to perform as diver surface support for all the participants.

There were 5 divers in the water to begin the dive and most importantly, 5 out. Those diving were: Mary Beth Thar (Niles), Sir Larry Steelman (Niles), Kevin Ailes (Bangor), Amy Ailes (Bangor), Don McAlhany (St. Joseph), It was fun as usual, so maybe come out and join us next year!

The first Day dive of the New Year, January 1st, was completed by Muddy Bob Sweeney at Gilboa Quarry

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2020 – June – Tankful Tuesday

Tankful Tuesday Dive – June 23- Little Paw Paw Lake – Coloma, MI. 18:30 hrs (6:30 PM for others) – We met at the Public Access / boat launch.

To get there from I-94, Exit at 39 and head east on West Center Street, turn left onto North Church Street, thru downtown Coloma and follow “Paw Paw Lake Road” as it parallels Big PPL. Turn left onto Johnston Road (you’ll see the Handy Spot convenience store at the corner) and turn Left on Helen Street. That links up with Lake Drive and the public access parking. (that’s about 3 miles)

Looking to the right you will see the public access parking. If it had been crowded we were going to convoy to Forest Beach on Big PPL.

At the Public Access and boat launch. The sand beach area and the swim area off the beach was very clean and safe for kids. Drop off started at about 6 feet. Dark bottom when getting to deeper water ~25″ but a light makes the difference. Metal detecting not so good BUT grubbing was great! We pretty much had the public access all to ourselves this day with just a little bit of boat traffic. Nice warm day, gentle breeze and the few threatening clouds all passed us by.

Little Paw Paw Lake from the air – Boat Launch
The sandy spot, left center) is the Public Access. The lake is ~90 acres. The deepest point in the lake is 27 feet. Lake turnover time is ~.3 yrs. Boat launch and park at the end of “Helen” road. Heavy weeds in the summer out to 10 feet, bottom to the left of the launch is heavy muck and very dark. When Carp are breeding they sometime bump you if you are in the weeds and in their territory.
Karen, Barb, Kirk and Mac were on hand today. Karen finding the “official Dive” golf ball(s). Kurt & Barb provided shore support.
Like I said, Karen the grubber, did very well and some nice finds were recovered
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